Military Retirement Watch – Sept. 19
In the interest of keeping our readers up to date on the Military Retirement Reform proposal, I will be posting a regular status report on any military retirement news.
It appears the plan to cut into the Military Retirement system is now a hot topic for the national media — even my local news paper featured it on the front page. This week the New York Times has reported that the intense push to reduce the DoD budget has made military retiree benefits much more vulnerable then they have been in the past.
The Times reports that if Congress fails to adopt the recommendations of the joint Congressional committee this fall, the DoD will be forced to find about $900 billion in savings over the next ten years. “Cuts that deep will almost certainly entail reducing personnel benefits for active and retired troops, Pentagon officials and analysts say.”
Secretary Panetta continues to say that everything is on the table. The idea that seems to be on the table and is most discussed is the Defense Business Board’s recommendation to replace the current system with a 401(k) retirement plan.
The use of key buzzwords like, “untenable,” “unfair,” and “illegal” to describe the current retirement program normally shows the bias of the officials being quoted, and the NYT article quotes several sources who use these terms to discribe the current retirement system.
Thankfully they do give some time for the other side of the argument by featuring a statement by the Military Officers Association of America Director of Government Relations, retired Air Force colonel Steven P. Strobridge, who said, “The whole reason military people are willing to pursue a career is because after 20, 30 years of extraordinary sacrifice, there is a package commensurate with that sacrifice upon leaving service.”
Unfortunately, as the article goes on to say, some experts expect that the draw back in Iraq and Afghanistan could make it easier to sell the DBB proposed reforms.